5 Tips for Raising Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a rich protein source and commonly grown as forage and harvested as hay. It is a high yielding forage plant in areas where the soil is well adapted to its cultivation. Humans can also consume alfalfa sprouts. Dried alfalfa leaf is also available in the form of tablets, tea and powders.

Raising alfalfa is marked by production of nitrogen, which not only increases yield per acre but also contributes to the quality of the soil. Growing alfalfa is not only a profitable venture but also preferred for crop rotation.

Site Selection

Alfalfa grows best on a site that is low lying, level site and devoid of potholes. Avoid hilly and rocky ground and shallow and eroded soil. If you do not have such a site, then forget about raising alfalfa. If you do ignore this, you are not likely to get optimal results.

Soil Quality 

 Make sure that you get the pH level of the soil checked before planting. Alfalfa does not grow well in acidic soil and pH level of above 6 is required for getting best results. If you cannot afford to prepare and fertilize the soil for raising alfalfa, do not plant alfalfa. For best results there should be sufficiently high amounts of phosphorus and potassium.    

When to Plant

The optimum months for planting alfalfa are the months of spring or fall. Although alfalfa can tolerate cold weather, a freeze can ruin the crop. To avoid such a situation it is better to determine the time of the last freeze by consulting a weather guide and plant only after that.


Alfalfa can be planted without tilling provided you have planted it before. However, it requires a firm seedbed that is smooth and devoid of clods. For a good seedbed appropriate for growing alfalfa, you need to draw a harrow over the land several times and followed by a cultipacker so as to remove and press down clods and small stones.

For getting the full benefits of its property of increasing soil nitrogen, inoculate the seeds with a commercially available compound for fostering bacteria that adds to production of nitrogen. Mix the seeds with the compound and sow immediately after. Instead of scattering, plant the seeds in rows for maximum yield.


Unless your area gets sufficient rain to support growing alfalfa, you need to select an appropriate watering system for dry conditions. For shallow soils use a sprinkling system. For extremely dry lands more advanced irrigation may be required.



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